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Sun, Dec 30, 2012

Facing Consolidation And Budget Cuts, Middle Georgia Aviation Campus Looks Ahead

Continuing Projects For NASA, Pursuit Of Sikorsky Prize

Middle Georgia College in Eastman, GA, has a lot going for it, according to its administration. In fact, some call it the best-kept secret in the region. It boasts the only four-year program to own and operate its own air traffic control tower, has a fleet of 18 aircraft, and is one of only five colleges in the nation to offer a helicopter program, according to aviation campus director David Brockway.

But the Middle Georgia Telegraph reports that due to state budget cuts, the college is scheduled to be consolidated with Macon State College. That prospect, however, has not dampened the enthusiasm at Middle Georgia for the projects on which it is currently working. Those projects include work on drones, NASA's Webb telescope, and a human-powered helicopter they hope will be able to claim the elusive Sikorsky prize.

The college will merge with Macon State in January, forming a five-campus institution, but fortunately for the aviation program, the interim president has not made noises about its elimination. Rather, they have been directed to reach out to K-12 schools through STEM programs which could eventually lead to additional grant funding for the aviation campus.

The college has about 500 enrolled students, with about 115 living on campus, according to the paper. Chad Dennis, a program coordinator with the Georgia Centers of Innovation for Aerospace, said the upcoming consolidation would mean an influx of resources and more visibility in the state. All of that, officials say, could lead to more money to keep the program not only afloat, but thriving.

FMI: www.mgc.edu/aviation

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